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Justice for Charles Taylor

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is now in The Hague where he will stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He had been in the custody of a special United Nations-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone and will be tried by that court in The Hague.

Charles Taylor’s arrest and trial is the result of years of support for democracy and diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and our international partners. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says his transfer to the Hague "is an important step for justice and accountability":

"We are grateful and appreciative to the efforts of Nigeria, Liberia, the British, the Dutch, and the [U-N] Security Council in making this move. And we have said from the very beginning that we will not rest until those accused of crimes are held accountable."

Charles Taylor is the first African president to face such charges. He was forced to leave office in 2003 after six years of gross misrule. Rather than working to improve life for Liberians, he supported rebels in neighboring countries and fomented civil strife in his own. He is accused of being part of a criminal enterprise set up to take diamonds from eastern Sierra Leone and use the profits to finance a campaign of destabilization in West Africa.

The eleven-count indictment Taylor faces includes charges of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. He is charged with "bearing the greatest responsibility" for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, including murder. He is also charged with crimes against humanity, including extermination, rape, murder, sexual slavery, and the use of child soldiers.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says, "His trial will demonstrate the international community's commitment to holding individuals responsible for their actions." The U.S., Mr. Ereli says, "applaud[s] the efforts all those who have worked with us to bring Charles Taylor to justice."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.